The tribal marks are part of the Yoruba culture and are usually inscribed on the body by burning or cutting off the skin during childhood. The primary function of the tribal marks is for identification of a person’s tribe, family or patrilineal heritage.
Some marks are symbols of beauty, Yoruba creativity and keeping mischievous children alive (ila Abiku). This practice was popular among Yoruba people of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, tribal identification and facial stripes became important. Some repatriated slaves later reunited with their communities by looking at facial stripes